How does Synge make a classic comedy out of the frenzied love pursuit of country girls in The Playboy of The Western World?
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Comedy is generally defined as “tragedy avoided”, and in this “classic” comedy, two tragedies are avoided: first, the Playboy’s father is not really dead (twice), and secondly, Christie and Old Mahon’s daughter do not make the mistake of pairing up under false pretenses. This play is as much a full-length portrait of life in “the West” (read rural Ireland) as it is a character study. These characters are more stereotypes (the hungry widow, the paternal tavernkeeper, the young lovers, etc.) than they are psychologically drawn characters, and Synge’s clear purpose is not to tell a story of a murder, but to tell a story about human foibles, made right in the end. Synge managed to write a "classic" comedy by looking at the dynamics of social setting in which the action takes place, and finding the human folly in it.
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